One of our daughters has been vegetarian for the last three years. Also known as “flexitarian”. She flexes between being vegetarian and bacon-loving depending on the menu! Research shows that a plant-based diet offers many benefits for your health, however it can be hard to give up the hamburgers. In fact, an estimated 4 out of 5 vegetarians eventually go back to eating meat.
There’s also evidence that making the transition gradually increases the chances of sticking with a meatless diet.
Picking one day a week to eat vegetarian is an excellent place to start, and that’s the thinking behind the global movement for Meatless Mondays. The campaign has a longer history than you might think. During World War I, Meatless Mondays were advertised as a way to support the troops. In 2003, the idea was revived by public health experts to encourage positive changes in the way we eat.
Even when we are in “flexitarian” mode we try to have at least one if not two meatless meal days. Begin each week with a meat-free day or design a schedule that works for your family. Ours is pretty fluid rather than ‘Meatless monda
Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet:
1. Reduce your health risks. Eating more fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk for diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes. Lifestyle choices, like your diet, play a major role in your wellbeing.
2. Lose weight. Being a vegetarian won’t make you thin if you’re living on pizza and potato chips. However statistics do show that vegetarians tend to weigh less, have lower body fat, and live longer than meat eaters.*
3. Consume more fiber. Increased fiber is one reason why most vegetarians slim down. Fiber also reduces blood pressure and inflammation.
4. Spend less on food. Meals that are built around vegetables, beans and grains tend to be cheaper than meals built around meat. This is partly because producing meat requires extra expenses like feed and transportation.
Here are some of our favourite Meatless Meal recipes.
Fried haloumi lentil salad by Erin ( The Almond Eater)
Blackbean Sweet Potato Enchiladas by Cookie + Kate
Spring Roll Bowls by Pinch of Yum
Sweet Potato, Eggplant and Cauliflower Lasagna by Donna Hay
Peanut noodles with sesame haloumi by Tieghan (Half baked Harvest)
Practicing Meatless Mondays at Home:
1. Learn new recipes. Make vegetarian cooking fun by experimenting with new dishes. Choose a vegetable you’ve never cooked with before – or grab one you normally don’t like – brussel sprouts!
2. Make substitutions. Enjoy your old favourites without the meat. Use spinach in your lasagna and chickpeas for fajitas.
3. Stock your kitchen. Simplify mealtime by shopping in advance for vegetarian staples. Look for beans, nuts, and nutritional yeast.
4. Do your research. Google to find bloggers who live vegetarian and vegan lifestyles.
5. Reach out. Learn from others who are trying to go meat-free. Browse through the Meatless Monday website or talk with friends and family who have made the transition. Find a friend who is keen to share ideas with.
The goal of the Meatless Monday Campaign is to encourage people to refrain from eating meat one day a week. Meatless Monday seeks to reduce the prevalence of preventable illnesses and the environmental impacts associated with meat production and excessive meat consumption.
Meatless Meals could be the start of a whole new way of eating for you and your family. Maybe you’ll decide to become vegetarian for life or just cut back on your consumption of processed meat. Either way, moving towards a plant-based diet could enhance your health, slash your grocery bills, and reduce your carbon footprint.
Have a favourite meatless meal? Let us know!